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In our first Interview with a Speaker of our upcoming #Portadalat (the Latin American Advertising and Media Summit and Online Video Forum in Miami on June 3-4), we talk to Ruben Leo Sarmiento, Marketing Director of Genomma Lab, an OTC (Over-the-Counter) and Personal Care maker that leads the advertiser rankings in many Latin American countries. Sarmiento, who is based in Mexico City, shared his ideas on Latin American TV Advertising, the Panregional vs. Local Marketing approach, Product Category Expansion and more…

Portada: What is it that attracted you to lead Marketing at Genomma Lab?

Ruben Leo Sarmiento
Ruben Leo Sarmiento

Ruben Leo Sarmiento, Marketing Director, Genomma Lab: “I accepted the challenge of working at Genomma Lab not only because it is expected from me to evolve the way marketing is done to successfully support the company’s sustainability in the longer term, but also because of the following three reasons: First, I truly believe I can help develop a unique balance between entrepreneurial and corporate management styles. Working and learning from the strategic orientation of an entrepreneurial marketing type but evolving it to a more ‘informed management style´, where your own perception of the opportunities is valued will be the future not only for Genomma Lab but for most companies. Change is the name of the game in every single aspect but must be done ‘smartly’. Second, Genomma Lab is a company in full expansion stage in to other countries and categories, founded in Mexico, where challenges and opportunities are countless to freely use your mind to take the company to unthinkable levels.Finally, the interesting mix of businesses, OTC and Personal Care, opens a world of possibilities and synergies to deliver and provide the consumer with more solutions in the area of general human health.”

Does Genomma Lab adopt a panregional or more localized marketing strategy? Ruben Leo Sarmiento, Marketing Director, Genomma Lab: R.L.S.:“Understanding that the consumer is at the center of the strategies of Genomma Lab International is fundamental to rapidly gain acceptance in the market. Generally speaking, most of the expansions followed a pre-identified “success route” that has been proven in Mexico, to expand into other Latin American countries and the Hispanic market in the U.S. Yet, we are aware of the differences and have the flexibility to leverage on local insights as boosters of our brands, currently integrated into marketing plans to ensure we understand and satisfy our consumers’ needs across the region. And as we continue to grow, we have developed a model to use different countries as test markets to define regional launches and plans.”

We developed a unique model of aggressive creative mass advertising through a TV-centric model to quickly create awareness.

Genomma Lab leads advertiser rankings in most Latin American countries it has a presence in.  Up till now most of the investment has been done in open TV. What is the main benefit of this strategy and how will it be modified going forward? Ruben Leo Sarmiento, Marketing Director, Genomma Lab:  “Genomma Lab International developed a unique model of aggressive creative mass advertising through a TV-centric model to quickly create awareness of its portfolio offering. We know that digital is everyone’s future not only at work but in our daily lives, yet, in developing markets TV is still among the top 3 mass media vehicles and TV will continue to be part of our core model, both open and Pay-TV. Digital and “quality” content as well as other vehicles to cover other consumer touch-points are considered important and will be part of our longer term marketing plans to maintain our share of “top of mind” leadership across our brands.”

Category expansion examples in anti-dandruff and hemorrhoid products.

Can you provide an example of category expansion. By this we mean an example of an increase in product offerings through which Genomma Lab has not cannibalized its own products or those of the competition?
R.L.S.: “Sure, there are several examples that we have in Genomma Lab International, where we have not only been able to compete succesfully, but they also reflect a very robust model that  develops non-existent categories from OTC to personal care businesses. One example is in the OTC business.  In the OTC business, Nikzon,has demonstrated to change a paradigm within the hemorrhoid condition. In Mexico nobody really advertised and educated consumers about the symptoms and treatments unless you went to a doctor with a relatively serious  condition, in addition to the ‘shame of being treated by a doctor’, more so in the case of men, and the reluctancy and discomfort to use a “topical” treatment, our company identified this situation and worked to develop an OTC “oral” treatment, educating and advertising the benefits. The result was that the category expanded quickly and Nikzon expanded consumption in the category and practically has a 100% segment share and more than 50% total category value share. ”

Do you have another example of category expansion? 
R.L.S.: “Yes, in the personal care business, anti-dandruff is an interesting challenge in Mexico given the scalp claimed condition of many Mexicans. There also is  a strong established competitor providing a ‘cosmetic´ solution for the market, yet this competitor is not able to cover all consumer needs. We identified a potential to develop the segment  by 3 times its former size by providing differentiated portfolio solutions (medical and cosmetic) and educating consumers differently according to target, to ensure we minimize cannibalization. With our current brands (Alert, Medicasp) and recent launch (Triatop), we carefully designed a strategy to differentiate our offerings at different levels  such as: Product and formula (including pricing), Communication strategy and go to market / channels strategy. We have been able to grow our sales at double-digit rates in the 3 brands over the past 6-9 months, minimizing cannibalization among our brands or those of competitors.”


Portada Staff

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